One scrum board life story

When I came up for the first time with the idea “Guys, why not to have a board for our project? Visualizing is so cool!” all the team looked at me as if I said something absurd. We had the status board in Jira and that seemed to be enough. I started talking about the benefits and future opportunities, but no one was as enthusiastic, as I. They treated it as “One more action I have to do when closing the task – move it on the board”.  Finally, I got the support from the unexpected source – one or the girls in our team said – “We can use colorful stickers, so it would be so nice and pretty!” ^_^  That is where our story begins.

During the next retrospective we created the first version of our board. It was simple and ugly:

2012-08-06 19.26.31-1

The next week we realized, that that board sucks. We could not see which tasks were reopened by testers, which tasks are ready for development (tasks were pulled from backlog by the designer, pm and qa to prepare design, analyze and write tests – only then they were ready for the development).

Board 2.0:

2012-10-01 13.19.24-1

You can see that we split Development into 2 columns: In progress and Done. QAs can take the tasks from “Done” sub column. Also the “In design” column is added. The one nice thing I looked up somewhere on the net – out team images. You can see whose responsibility was the each column 🙂

More improvements – Board 2.1:

photo 3(1)

The next improvement was connected with adding the rows) We separated the whole board into 3 parts – Stories/tasks, Tech debt, Bugs. It was the period when we turned to kanban – you can see the limits for the tasks on the top of the columns. From now the developer could take the task from each of the rows and start doing it. PM, as the analytic of the project was responsible for the supply of bricks for the tasks in In analysis, but I was too lazy an succeed to involve QA in the analysis of the tasks, so there is no my photo on the board 🙂

Once we had too many tasks completed we decided to store them in the envelope with the release name. So everyone could see how productive we were!

photo 5

And once I had the best scene PM can see on the board in 2 weeks before the release :):

photo 1(1)

As our team was growing – we created the sub board for the iOS team:

photo 4

And now a bit about the other board) We had no white board to waste, so had to invent something, having only the sticky tape and stickers:


Now, after working with physical boards more than 1,5 years I am a bit more prepared to explain why I push teams to use it.

Why physical board:

  1. It is simple. All you need to have is wall, stickers, markers, paper.
  2. Big – everyone sees it, knows where it is. You can’t avoid it entering the room.
  3. It creates the “Team space” – everyone in the office knows that our team staked out that place) It is the important part part of our team’s “team spirit”.
  4. Flexible – it is very easy to modify it. All you need is sticky tape or white board eraser.
  5. It’s interactive – appealing people to touch it and play with it – if you touch it and name it , you own it :).
  6. Electronic boards are not visible. Yes, everyone can go to Jira and see the status board there, but it is not the same as you see the board when you come to the team’s room – you have to login, so it’s a bit “hidden”.
  7. Physical board forces collaboration.
    Electronic board is a bit individualistic. Just imagine: you have to update the taks in Jira before the stand up, as if you do that during the stand up – you’ll make everyone wait for you.
    If you are using the physical board – you can do that during the meeting, speaking while you are moving the tasks. Everyone is listening to you and clearly see what task are you talking about. While you are moving the task – you are touching it and feeling it – it is something material. It is the material sign of you completing the task, your small achievement.

Hope I conveyed you to create your own board ^_^

P.S. I am really crazy about boards. So here is our PM improvement board – we update it during the weekly meetings and can monitor our routine tasks and improvements.

2013-04-10 13.09.02-1

Intentionally do not remove all that stuff from “Done”, as it looks as if we done a lot! 🙂


2 thoughts on “One scrum board life story

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